The message from the UN is loud and clear. All climate change talks over the next decade will prove ineffective if immediate actions to stop the earth’s rising temperatures aren’t acted upon. The point became apparent at the recently held 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) when UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned world leaders that humanity is on a “highway to climate hell”.
This year’s summit was focussed on the inadequate ambition to curb global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aimed to fully implement the promise of the Paris Agreement—a legally binding international treaty on climate change that envisages keeping the global temperature rise in this century below 2° C of pre-industrial levels. Following intense negotiations, a much-delayed and long-awaited promise of $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries was approved at this year’s summit. The fund will assist developing countries that have contributed very little to the climate crisis, and yet are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
India, as a party to the Paris Agreement, has taken several steps to fight climate change. While its historical contribution to cumulative GHG emissions is minuscule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pledged at the 2021 summit that India will have net zero emissions by 2070. This year, the Indian delegation led by Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, focussed on action in climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building. India also submitted its long-term low-emissions strategy to the UN.
Per India’s strategy paper, power generation is the biggest emitter, and hence, the country’s primary focus is on the rational use of national resources with due regard to energy security. The rapid expansion of green hydrogen production and a three-fold increase in nuclear capacity by 2032 are envisaged to curb the power sector’s emissions. For transportation, India is working towards increased use of biofuels, high electric vehicle (EV) penetration, and the use of green hydrogen fuel.
With rapid urbanisation, future sustainable and climate-resilient urban development will be driven by smart city initiatives, mainstream adoption of enhanced energy resources, effective green building codes and development of innovative waste management practices.
In the industrial sector, the focus will be on improving energy efficiency through the Perform, Achieve and Trade scheme, National Hydrogen Mission, and high level of electrification in all relevant processes and activities.
But despite all the efforts in the past, very little change has been observed on the ground. Experts say that the world should collectively work towards making course corrections to avert more such disasters.
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